Read these first:-
(This image uploaded onto Facebook by Anwar Miswan allegedly shows movie-goers not standing up when the national anthem was played. No doubt, there is no excuse for not standing up when the national anthem is played but can this construed as treason? How about corruption or misuse of taxpayers’ money? Image Source)
A couple of days ago, this nation celebrated Hari Malaysia (the day when we welcomed our brothers & sisters from Sabah & Sarawak into the Federation of Malaysia) and couple of weeks earlier, the Independence (the day when we got our independence from the British).
And every year, it has been one of the much waited celebrations as a nation. It reinforces the notion that we are all united as one, no matter we come from. But lately it has come to a point where one had to ask “is there a point in these celebrations?” and “what we are really celebrating?”. Have we really gained our independence and had become a very united people with a common goal and vision? Or we have this sabotaged by the very people who suppose to drive the message of unity and moderation on a regular basis?
Don’t get me wrong – there is no question whatsoever of the level of patriotism among Malaysians. When the country is faced with calamity or tragedy, you can easily see on how Malaysians from all walks of life and different background, culture and religion united. The recent tragedies of MH370 and MH17 is one such instances.
But then again, lately anger and rude statements against politicians or even the Government has been wrongly construed as a severe wrongdoing against the country itself. It is wrongly construed as sedition. A prime example has been this:-
Seri Delima assemblyman R. S. N. Rayer is to be charged with sedition tomorrow at the Sessions Court in Penang over his “celaka Umno” remark, which he had uttered in the state assembly against several Umno members in May.
And it gets worse:-
What is considered “seditious” under the Act is very wide. Section 3(1) of the Act uses the phrase “seditious tendency”. According to a Suaram report, theoretically even an article on water cuts may amount to sedition, since it could be interpreted as the tendency “to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst the inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State.” Many have said the problem lies with the arbitrariness of determining what is actually “seditious”, making the law very political.
Rayer may have been rude or vulgar or as some would have said, “kurang ajar” but when does that statement amounts to sedition? Seriously it is difficult to place Rayer’s “celaka Umno” under the provisions of the Sedition Act so we have to wait and see how the court proceedings go. What is and amounts to sedition anyway? But interestingly after a string of people been caught and charged for sedition, the Old Man uttered this in public:-
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malays in the country are lazy, dishonest and complacent.
In an exclusive interview with Mingguan Malaysia, Dr Mahathir said Malay men are also lagging behind the women, with many of them preferring to become ‘Mat Rempits’.
“The Malays are lazy and they are not interested in studying. If we go to the universities, 70% of the students are women, so where are the men?,” he asked.
Doesn’t that borders sedition too?
And I strongly disagree that Malays are lazy, dishonest and complacent. I worked with some of them who seems to have endless energy, commitment and passion. And there are lazy people in all races in this country – Malay, Chinese, Indian and others. There are village idiots in every sector of the society in this country. But yet, there is no sedition charge made against the Old Man. No arrests or street protests whatsoever. Even the ultra Malay group is taking this insult as a fatherly advice, something that would have been unthinkable if the same had been said by someone else.
And even if you take the Old Man’s words as gospel truth, didn’t he too played a crucial part in all of this? After all, he was the PM for 22 years and shaped the direction of the community?
That brings back to the question what amounts to a real sedition and what amounts to angry, rude and perhaps dumb statements. Will now uttering the word “celaka” amounts to sedition – no questions asked? It is not going to go well for country if we are still striving for a developed status by 2020.
Presently it does not look good and the PM is keeping his silence again. Yes he spoke of coming up with another law to replace the current Sedition Act but without him stepping in to stop these senseless prosecution of citizens under sedition, how we can feel confident that the new law will not be an old wine in a new bottle?
Still with me?